Everything Is Rigged: The Biggest Price-Fixing Scandal Ever

Everything Is Rigged: The Biggest Price-Fixing Scandal Ever

The Illuminati were amateurs. The second huge financial scandal of the year reveals the real international conspiracy: There’s no price the big banks can’t fix.

Conspiracy theorists of the world, believers in the hidden hands of the Rothschilds and the Masons and the Illuminati, we skeptics owe you an apology. You were right. The players may be a little different, but your basic premise is correct: The world is a rigged game. We found this out in recent months, when a series of related corruption stories spilled out of the financial sector, suggesting the world’s largest banks may be fixing the prices of, well, just about everything.

You may have heard of the Libor scandal, in which at least three – and perhaps as many as 16 – of the name-brand too-big-to-fail banks have been manipulating global interest rates, in the process messing around with the prices of upward of $500 trillion (that’s trillion, with a “t”) worth of financial instruments. When that sprawling con burst into public view last year, it was easily the biggest financial scandal in history – MIT professor Andrew Lo even said it “dwarfs by orders of magnitude any financial scam in the history of markets.”

That was bad enough, but now Libor may have a twin brother. Word has leaked out that the London-based firm ICAP, the world’s largest broker of interest-rate swaps, is being investigated by American authorities for behavior that sounds eerily reminiscent of the Libor mess. Regulators are looking into whether or not a small group of brokers at ICAP may have worked with up to 15 of the world’s largest banks to manipulate ISDAfix, a benchmark number used around the world to calculate the prices of interest-rate swaps.

Interest-rate swaps are a tool used by big cities, major corporations and sovereign governments to manage their debt, and the scale of their use is almost unimaginably massive. It’s about a $379 trillion market, meaning that any manipulation would affect a pile of assets about 100 times the size of the United States federal budget.

It should surprise no one that among the players implicated in this scheme to fix the prices of interest-rate swaps are the same megabanks – including Barclays, UBS, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and the Royal Bank of Scotland – that serve on the Libor panel that sets global interest rates. In fact, in recent years many of these banks have already paid multimillion-dollar settlements for anti-competitive manipulation of one form or another (in addition to Libor, some were caught up in an anti-competitive scheme, detailed in Rolling Stone last year, to rig municipal-debt service auctions). Though the jumble of financial acronyms sounds like gibberish to the layperson, the fact that there may now be price-fixing scandals involving both Libor and ISDAfix suggests a single, giant mushrooming conspiracy of collusion and price-fixing hovering under the ostensibly competitive veneer of Wall Street culture.

The Scam Wall Street Learned From the Mafia

Why? Because Libor already affects the prices of interest-rate swaps, making this a manipulation-on-manipulation situation. If the allegations prove to be right, that will mean that swap customers have been paying for two different layers of price-fixing corruption. If you can imagine paying 20 bucks for a crappy PB&J because some evil cabal of agribusiness companies colluded to fix the prices of both peanuts and peanut butter, you come close to grasping the lunacy of financial markets where both interest rates and interest-rate swaps are being manipulated at the same time, often by the same banks.

“It’s a double conspiracy,” says an amazed Michael Greenberger, a former director of the trading and markets division at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and now a professor at the University of Maryland. “It’s the height of criminality.”

The bad news didn’t stop with swaps and interest rates. In March, it also came out that two regulators – the CFTC here in the U.S. and the Madrid-based International Organization of Securities Commissions – were spurred by the Libor revelations to investigate the possibility of collusive manipulation of gold and silver prices. “Given the clubby manipulation efforts we saw in Libor benchmarks, I assume other benchmarks – many other benchmarks – are legit areas of inquiry,” CFTC Commissioner Bart Chilton said.

But the biggest shock came out of a federal courtroom at the end of March – though if you follow these matters closely, it may not have been so shocking at all – when a landmark class-action civil lawsuit against the banks for Libor-related offenses was dismissed. In that case, a federal judge accepted the banker-defendants’ incredible argument: If cities and towns and other investors lost money because of Libor manipulation, that was their own fault for ever thinking the banks were competing in the first place.

“A farce,” was one antitrust lawyer’s response to the eyebrow-raising dismissal.

“Incredible,” says Sylvia Sokol, an attorney for Constantine Cannon, a firm that specializes in antitrust cases.

All of these stories collectively pointed to the same thing: These banks, which already possess enormous power just by virtue of their financial holdings – in the United States, the top six banks, many of them the same names you see on the Libor and ISDAfix panels, own assets equivalent to 60 percent of the nation’s GDP – are beginning to realize the awesome possibilities for increased profit and political might that would come with colluding instead of competing. Moreover, it’s increasingly clear that both the criminal justice system and the civil courts may be impotent to stop them, even when they do get caught working together to game the system.

If true, that would leave us living in an era of undisguised, real-world conspiracy, in which the prices of currencies, commodities like gold and silver, even interest rates and the value of money itself, can be and may already have been dictated from above. And those who are doing it can get away with it. Forget the Illuminati – this is the real thing, and it’s no secret. You can stare right at it, anytime you want.

The banks found a loophole, a basic flaw in the machine. Across the financial system, there are places where prices or official indices are set based upon unverified data sent in by private banks and financial companies. In other words, we gave the players with incentives to game the system institutional roles in the economic infrastructure.

Libor, which measures the prices banks charge one another to borrow money, is a perfect example, not only of this basic flaw in the price-setting system but of the weakness in the regulatory framework supposedly policing it. Couple a voluntary reporting scheme with too-big-to-fail status and a revolving-door legal system, and what you get is unstoppable corruption.

Every morning, 18 of the world’s biggest banks submit data to an office in London about how much they believe they would have to pay to borrow from other banks. The 18 banks together are called the “Libor panel,” and when all of these data from all 18 panelist banks are collected, the numbers are averaged out. What emerges, every morning at 11:30 London time, are the daily Libor figures.

Banks submit numbers about borrowing in 10 different currencies across 15 different time periods, e.g., loans as short as one day and as long as one year. This mountain of bank-submitted data is used every day to create benchmark rates that affect the prices of everything from credit cards to mortgages to currencies to commercial loans (both short- and long-term) to swaps.

Gangster Bankers Broke Every Law in the Book

Dating back perhaps as far as the early Nineties, traders and others inside these banks were sometimes calling up the company geeks responsible for submitting the daily Libor numbers (the “Libor submitters”) and asking them to fudge the numbers. Usually, the gimmick was the trader had made a bet on something – a swap, currencies, something – and he wanted the Libor submitter to make the numbers look lower (or, occasionally, higher) to help his bet pay off.

Famously, one Barclays trader monkeyed with Libor submissions in exchange for a bottle of Bollinger champagne, but in some cases, it was even lamer than that. This is from an exchange between a trader and a Libor submitter at the Royal Bank of Scotland:

SWISS FRANC TRADER: can u put 6m swiss libor in low pls?… 
PRIMARY SUBMITTER: Whats it worth 
SWSISS FRANC TRADER: ive got some sushi rolls from yesterday?… 
PRIMARY SUBMITTER: ok low 6m, just for u 
SWISS FRANC TRADER: wooooooohooooooo. . . thatd be awesome

Screwing around with world interest rates that affect billions of people in exchange for day-old sushi – it’s hard to imagine an image that better captures the moral insanity of the modern financial-services sector.

Hundreds of similar exchanges were uncovered when regulators like Britain’s Financial Services Authority and the U.S. Justice Department started burrowing into the befouled entrails of Libor. The documentary evidence of anti-competitive manipulation they found was so overwhelming that, to read it, one almost becomes embarrassed for the banks. “It’s just amazing how Libor fixing can make you that much money,” chirped one yen trader. “Pure manipulation going on,” wrote another.

Yet despite so many instances of at least attempted manipulation, the banks mostly skated. Barclays got off with a relatively minor fine in the $450 million range, UBS was stuck with $1.5 billion in penalties, and RBS was forced to give up $615 million. Apart from a few low-level flunkies overseas, no individual involved in this scam that impacted nearly everyone in the industrialized world was even threatened with criminal prosecution.

Two of America’s top law-enforcement officials, Attorney General Eric Holder and former Justice Department Criminal Division chief Lanny Breuer, confessed that it’s dangerous to prosecute offending banks because they are simply too big. Making arrests, they say, might lead to “collateral consequences” in the economy.

The relatively small sums of money extracted in these settlements did not go toward reparations for the cities, towns and other victims who lost money due to Libor manipulation. Instead, it flowed mindlessly into government coffers. So it was left to towns and cities like Baltimore (which lost money due to fluctuations in their municipal investments caused by Libor movements), pensions like the New Britain, Connecticut, Firefighters’ and Police Benefit Fund, and other foundations – and even individuals (billionaire real-estate developer Sheldon Solow, who filed his own suit in February, claims that his company lost $450 million because of Libor manipulation) – to sue the banks for damages.

One of the biggest Libor suits was proceeding on schedule when, early in March, an army of superstar lawyers working on behalf of the banks descended upon federal judge Naomi Buchwald in the Southern District of New York to argue an extraordinary motion to dismiss. The banks’ legal dream team drew from heavyweight Beltway-connected firms like Boies Schiller (you remember David Boies represented Al Gore), Davis Polk (home of top ex-regulators like former SEC enforcement chief Linda Thomsen) and Covington & Burling, the onetime private-practice home of both Holder and Breuer.

The presence of Covington & Burling in the suit – representing, of all companies, Citigroup, the former employer of current Treasury Secretary Jack Lew – was particularly galling. Right as the Libor case was being dismissed, the firm had hired none other than Lanny Breuer, the same Lanny Breuer who, just a few months before, was the assistant attorney general who had balked at criminally prosecuting UBS over Libor because, he said, “Our goal here is not to destroy a major financial institution.”

In any case, this all-star squad of white-shoe lawyers came before Buchwald and made the mother of all audacious arguments. Robert Wise of Davis Polk, representing Bank of America, told Buchwald that the banks could not possibly be guilty of anti- competitive collusion because nobody ever said that the creation of Libor was competitive. “It is essential to our argument that this is not a competitive process,” he said. “The banks do not compete with one another in the submission of Libor.”

If you squint incredibly hard and look at the issue through a mirror, maybe while standing on your head, you can sort of see what Wise is saying. In a very theoretical, technical sense, the actual process by which banks submit Libor data – 18 geeks sending numbers to the British Bankers’ Association offices in London once every morning – is not competitive per se.

But these numbers are supposed to reflect interbank-loan prices derived in a real, competitive market. Saying the Libor submission process is not competitive is sort of like pointing out that bank robbers obeyed the speed limit on the way to the heist. It’s the silliest kind of legal sophistry.

But Wise eventually outdid even that argument, essentially saying that while the banks may have lied to or cheated their customers, they weren’t guilty of the particular crime of antitrust collusion. This is like the old joke about the lawyer who gets up in court and claims his client had to be innocent, because his client was committing a crime in a different state at the time of the offense.

“The plaintiffs, I believe, are confusing a claim of being perhaps deceived,” he said, “with a claim for harm to competition.”

Judge Buchwald swallowed this lunatic argument whole and dismissed most of the case. Libor, she said, was a “cooperative endeavor” that was “never intended to be competitive.” Her decision “does not reflect the reality of this business, where all of these banks were acting as competitors throughout the process,” said the antitrust lawyer Sokol. Buchwald made this ruling despite the fact that both the U.S. and British governments had already settled with three banks for billions of dollars for improper manipulation, manipulation that these companies admitted to in their settlements.

Michael Hausfeld of Hausfeld LLP, one of the lead lawyers for the plaintiffs in this Libor suit, declined to comment specifically on the dismissal. But he did talk about the significance of the Libor case and other manipulation cases now in the pipeline.

“It’s now evident that there is a ubiquitous culture among the banks to collude and cheat their customers as many times as they can in as many forms as they can conceive,” he said. “And that’s not just surmising. This is just based upon what they’ve been caught at.”

Greenberger says the lack of serious consequences for the Libor scandal has only made other kinds of manipulation more inevitable. “There’s no therapy like sending those who are used to wearing Gucci shoes to jail,” he says. “But when the attorney general says, ‘I don’t want to indict people,’ it’s the Wild West. There’s no law.”

The problem is, a number of markets feature the same infrastructural weakness that failed in the Libor mess. In the case of interest-rate swaps and the ISDAfix benchmark, the system is very similar to Libor, although the investigation into these markets reportedly focuses on some different types of improprieties.

Though interest-rate swaps are not widely understood outside the finance world, the root concept actually isn’t that hard. If you can imagine taking out a variable-rate mortgage and then paying a bank to make your loan payments fixed, you’ve got the basic idea of an interest-rate swap.

In practice, it might be a country like Greece or a regional government like Jefferson County, Alabama, that borrows money at a variable rate of interest, then later goes to a bank to “swap” that loan to a more predictable fixed rate. In its simplest form, the customer in a swap deal is usually paying a premium for the safety and security of fixed interest rates, while the firm selling the swap is usually betting that it knows more about future movements in interest rates than its customers.

Prices for interest-rate swaps are often based on ISDAfix, which, like Libor, is yet another of these privately calculated benchmarks. ISDAfix’s U.S. dollar rates are published every day, at 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., after a gang of the same usual-suspect megabanks (Bank of America, RBS, Deutsche, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays, etc.) submits information about bids and offers for swaps.

And here’s what we know so far: The CFTC has sent subpoenas to ICAP and to as many as 15 of those member banks, and plans to interview about a dozen ICAP employees from the company’s office in Jersey City, New Jersey. Moreover, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, or ISDA, which works together with ICAP (for U.S. dollar transactions) and Thomson Reuters to compute the ISDAfix benchmark, has hired the consulting firm Oliver Wyman to review the process by which ISDAfix is calculated. Oliver Wyman is the same company that the British Bankers’ Association hired to review the Libor submission process after that scandal broke last year. The upshot of all of this is that it looks very much like ISDAfix could be Libor all over again.

“It’s obviously reminiscent of the Libor manipulation issue,” Darrell Duffie, a finance professor at Stanford University, told reporters. “People may have been naive that simply reporting these rates was enough to avoid manipulation.”

And just like in Libor, the potential losers in an interest-rate-swap manipulation scandal would be the same sad-sack collection of cities, towns, companies and other nonbank entities that have no way of knowing if they’re paying the real price for swaps or a price being manipulated by bank insiders for profit. Moreover, ISDAfix is not only used to calculate prices for interest-rate swaps, it’s also used to set values for about $550 billion worth of bonds tied to commercial real estate, and also affects the payouts on some state-pension annuities.

So although it’s not quite as widespread as Libor, ISDAfix is sufficiently power-jammed into the world financial infrastructure that any manipulation of the rate would be catastrophic – and a huge class of victims that could include everyone from state pensioners to big cities to wealthy investors in structured notes would have no idea they were being robbed.

“How is some municipality in Cleveland or wherever going to know if it’s getting ripped off?” asks Michael Masters of Masters Capital Management, a fund manager who has long been an advocate of greater transparency in the derivatives world. “The answer is, they won’t know.”

Worse still, the CFTC investigation apparently isn’t limited to possible manipulation of swap prices by monkeying around with ISDAfix. According to reports, the commission is also looking at whether or not employees at ICAP may have intentionally delayed publication of swap prices, which in theory could give someone (bankers, cough, cough) a chance to trade ahead of the information.

Swap prices are published when ICAP employees manually enter the data on a computer screen called “19901.” Some 6,000 customers subscribe to a service that allows them to access the data appearing on the 19901 screen.

The key here is that unlike a more transparent, regulated market like the New York Stock Exchange, where the results of stock trades are computed more or less instantly and everyone in theory can immediately see the impact of trading on the prices of stocks, in the swap market the whole world is dependent upon a handful of brokers quickly and honestly entering data about trades by hand into a computer terminal.

Any delay in entering price data would provide the banks involved in the transactions with a rare opportunity to trade ahead of the information. One way to imagine it would be to picture a racetrack where a giant curtain is pulled over the track as the horses come down the stretch – and the gallery is only told two minutes later which horse actually won. Anyone on the right side of the curtain could make a lot of smart bets before the audience saw the results of the race.

At ICAP, the interest-rate swap desk, and the 19901 screen, were reportedly controlled by a small group of 20 or so brokers, some of whom were making millions of dollars. These brokers made so much money for themselves the unit was nicknamed “Treasure Island.”

Already, there are some reports that brokers of Treasure Island did create such intentional delays. Bloomberg interviewed a former broker who claims that he watched ICAP brokers delay the reporting of swap prices. “That allows dealers to tell the brokers to delay putting trades into the system instead of in real time,” Bloomberg wrote, noting the former broker had “witnessed such activity firsthand.” An ICAP spokesman has no comment on the story, though the company has released a statement saying that it is “cooperating” with the CFTC’s inquiry and that it “maintains policies that prohibit” the improper behavior alleged in news reports.

The idea that prices in a $379 trillion market could be dependent on a desk of about 20 guys in New Jersey should tell you a lot about the absurdity of our financial infrastructure. The whole thing, in fact, has a darkly comic element to it. “It’s almost hilarious in the irony,” says David Frenk, director of research for Better Markets, a financial-reform advocacy group, “that they called it ISDAfix.”

After scandals involving libor and, perhaps, ISDAfix, the question that should have everyone freaked out is this: What other markets out there carry the same potential for manipulation? The answer to that question is far from reassuring, because the potential is almost everywhere. From gold to gas to swaps to interest rates, prices all over the world are dependent upon little private cabals of cigar-chomping insiders we’re forced to trust.

“In all the over-the-counter markets, you don’t really have pricing except by a bunch of guys getting together,” Masters notes glumly.

That includes the markets for gold (where prices are set by five banks in a Libor-ish teleconferencing process that, ironically, was created in part by N M Rothschild & Sons) and silver (whose price is set by just three banks), as well as benchmark rates in numerous other commodities – jet fuel, diesel, electric power, coal, you name it. The problem in each of these markets is the same: We all have to rely upon the honesty of companies like Barclays (already caught and fined $453 million for rigging Libor) or JPMorgan Chase (paid a $228 million settlement for rigging municipal-bond auctions) or UBS (fined a collective $1.66 billion for both muni-bond rigging and Libor manipulation) to faithfully report the real prices of things like interest rates, swaps, currencies and commodities.

All of these benchmarks based on voluntary reporting are now being looked at by regulators around the world, and God knows what they’ll find. The European Federation of Financial Services Users wrote in an official EU survey last summer that all of these systems are ripe targets for manipulation. “In general,” it wrote, “those markets which are based on non-attested, voluntary submission of data from agents whose benefits depend on such benchmarks are especially vulnerable of market abuse and distortion.”

Translation: When prices are set by companies that can profit by manipulating them, we’re fucked.

“You name it,” says Frenk. “Any of these benchmarks is a possibility for corruption.”

The only reason this problem has not received the attention it deserves is because the scale of it is so enormous that ordinary people simply cannot see it. It’s not just stealing by reaching a hand into your pocket and taking out money, but stealing in which banks can hit a few keystrokes and magically make whatever’s in your pocket worth less. This is corruption at the molecular level of the economy, Space Age stealing – and it’s only just coming into view.

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How did Barack Obama become Monsanto’s man in Washington?

How did Barack Obama become Monsanto’s man in Washington?

And when are anti-GMO activist groups going to stop saying they’re “shocked and disappointed” by the president?

Shocked and disappointed is polite-speak and politically correct reaction. It’s baloney.

Don’t you get it? Obama has never been on your side. He never deserved your trust.

Disappointment implies he was your buddy and then unaccountably walked away.

The man is a politician. He’s a liar. Different pols have different styles of lying. Some pretend they’re your friend before they screw you over and leave you in the dust.

I’ve previously published Obama’s track record as Monsanto’s number-one political supporter in America.

Meet Monsanto’s prime lobbyist, Barack Obama:

After his victory in the 2008 election, Obama filled key posts with Monsanto people, in federal agencies that wield tremendous force in food issues, the USDA and the FDA:

At the USDA, as the director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Roger Beachy, former director of the Monsanto Danforth Center.

As deputy commissioner of the FDA, the new food-safety-issues czar, the infamous Michael Taylor, former vice-president for public policy for Monsanto. Taylor had been instrumental in getting approval for Monsanto’s genetically engineered bovine growth hormone.

As commissioner of the USDA, Iowa governor, Tom Vilsack. Vilsack had set up a national group, the Governors’ Biotechnology Partnership, and had been given a Governor of the Year Award by the Biotechnology Industry Organization, whose members include Monsanto.

As the new Agriculture Trade Representative, who would push GMOs for export, Islam Siddiqui, a former Monsanto lobbyist.

As the new counsel for the USDA, Ramona Romero, who had been corporate counsel for another biotech giant, DuPont.

As the new head of the USAID, Rajiv Shah, who had previously worked in key positions for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a major funder of GMO agriculture research.

We should also remember that Obama’s secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, once worked for the Rose law firm. That firm was counsel to Monsanto.

Obama nominated Elena Kagan to the US Supreme Court. Kagan, as federal solicitor general, had previously argued for Monsanto in the Monsanto v. Geertson seed case before the Supreme Court.

The deck was stacked. Obama hadn’t simply made honest mistakes. Obama hadn’t just failed to exercise proper oversight in selecting appointees. He was staking out territory on behalf of Monsanto and other GMO corporate giants.

And now let us look at what key Obama appointees have wrought for their true bosses. Let’s see what GMO crops have walked through the open door of the Obama presidency.

Monsanto GMO alfalfa.

Monsanto GMO sugar beets.

Monsanto GMO Bt soybean.

Coming soon: Monsanto’s GMO sweet corn.

Syngenta GMO corn for ethanol.

Syngenta GMO stacked corn.

Pioneer GMO soybean.

Syngenta GMO Bt cotton.

Bayer GMO cotton.

ATryn, an anti-clotting agent from the milk of transgenic goats.

A GMO papaya strain.

And soon, genetically engineered salmon and apples.

This is an extraordinary parade.

Obama was, all along, a stealth operative on behalf of Monsanto, biotech, GMOs, and corporate control of the future of agriculture.

He didn’t make that many key political appointments and allow that many new GMO crops to enter the food chain through a lack of oversight.

Nor is it coincidental that two of the Obama’s biggest supporters, Bill Gates and George Soros, purchased 900,000 and 500,000 shares of Monsanto, respectively, in 2010.

Records don’t show Monsanto or other biotech giants pouring a landslide of (visible) campaign cash down on Obama, relative to other large donors.

Goldman Sachs was Obama’s number-one $$ donor, and Goldman touts GM-crop commodity contracts, for both buys and sells; but Goldman has its fingers in every significant money pot from Nome to Tierra Del Fuego.

The “Obama riddle” is as plain as the nose on the face of Globalism. Monsanto’s agenda, to monopolize the world’s food supply, is essential to the Globalist blueprint. That blueprint ultimately aims for redistribution of food to the world from a point of Central Planning

As president, Obama has a sworn obligation to Globalism. His oath isn’t to protect the Constitution. Are you kidding?

Every recent president has had an overriding loyalty to Globalism.

Obama’s signing of the Monsanto Protection Act, making that corporation senior in power to the US court system, wasn’t an accident. It was taken in keen awareness of his duty to his Globalist betters.

You won’t, of course, see this disclosed on the evening news.

Here is a president who, like Bush, has no plans for a better world. Obama’s notion of “better” is tied up in the Globalist agenda:

An elite-run bureaucracy, promoting equality and justice, reduces all populations to a lowest common denominator, squashing freedom and prosperity.

Obama’s supporters will never learn the truth, because they’re blinded by the light, which they project on to the persona of the president.

Obama is aware of the con, since he triggered it, and he leverages it.

He’s all nudge-and-wink. “Yes, we’ll help you and you and you. Of course we will.”

He might help you if you make a declaration of dependence. Sacrifice yourself on an altar of despair and then you might earn the right to be fed.

Obama, while on the campaign trail in 2008, was promising transparency in government, was claiming that every person has the right to know what’s in his food (GMO labeling). But clearly, that was all cover and fluff. He was lying through his teeth and he knew it. He’d been vetted for the presidency, and he knew the job entailed joining Monsanto and the larger Globalist agenda as a front man.

He hasn’t changed over the past four years. He’s been a covert agent since the beginning.

Imposter. Charlatan. These words fit Obama. He’s pretended, like Clinton, to care, but he doesn’t. He doesn’t care that GMO food is taking over the country and the world. He wants it to happen. He’s always wanted it to happen.

The sitting president of the United States, Monsanto, DuPont, and Dow, among others, are prepared to do whatever is necessary to make GMO food dominate America.

They intend, through Monsanto-gene drift among millions of plants in ag fields, through increased planting of GMO crops, and through introduction of still more GMO crops, to wrap up the USA in genetically engineered food.

Obama is on board. He’s always been on board.

He is the GMO president.

If tomorrow, the Globalist Rockefellers of this world decided that all food grown in the US should be injected with Prozac, Obama would find a way to help.

Stop making excuses for the man. He’s not a victim of evil forces surrounding his presidency. He signed up for this trip with eyes wide open.

Sources:
http://redgreenandblue.org

http://www.motherjones.com

http://fooddemocracynow.org

http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/food/genetically-engineered-foods/

http://news.yahoo.com

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/040123_Obama_Monsanto_Washington.html#ixzz2RxRWe881

New GMO labeling bill will be the ultimate test between the will of the people versus the greed and power of the biotech industry

New GMO labeling bill will be the ultimate test between the will of the people versus the greed and power of the biotech industry

In an exciting move in Washington, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) together have sponsored new federal legislation that requires the labeling of all genetically engineered food in the U.S. The Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act is the first national labeling bill to be introduced in Congress since 2010. U.S. citizens have demonstrated overwhelming support to label GMO foods in this country. Jeffrey Smith, founder of the Institute for Responsible Technology, has argued that GMO labeling could bring an end to the dangerous growth of GMOs. Genetically modified foods have consistently been shown to be dangerous to health in studies conducted by independently funded researchers. It is time for the U.S. to join other industrialized nations in their mandatory labeling policies.

Federal Labeling Bill enjoys widespread support

On April 24th, the new Federal Labeling Bill was proposed with the support of nine senators and 22 representatives. The bipartisan labeling bill has been supported by over 100 organizations and businesses including the Environmental Working GroupJust Label It, the Center for Environmental Health, and Lundberg Family Farms. This bill follows the passage last month of an amendment to the Senate budget resolution to require the labeling of GE fish.

Overwhelming majority of citizens are demanding GMO labeling

Consistently nearly 95 percent of American have demonstrated support for GM labeling. In October 2011, the Center for Food Safety filed a legal petition with the FDA to require labeling of all food produced using genetic engineering. In 2012, 55 members of Congress wrote a letter to FDA commissioner Hamburg in support of the petition. Over one million public comments have been submitted to the FDA supporting the CFS’s legal petition for labeling. This is the largest public response ever received by the FDA.

In response to consumers demand for labeling of GM foods, 37 GE food labeling bills have been introduced in 21 states in 2013. Hawaii, Washington, Indiana, Missouri and Vermont are among the states with bills pending.

An important grass roots effort is being made to fight GMOs with an international protest against Monsanto. US citizens are participating across the country on May 25th, joining with citizens around the world. See http://occupy-monsanto.com/ for additional information.

US must join the majority of industrialized nations that require labeling

Sixty four countries require labeling of GE foods including Australia, South Africa, Brazil, Japan, the United Kingdom, South Korea, and the entire European Union. It is time for the US to label GMOs.

Genetically Engineered foods have no safety record

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine reports that “several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM foods”. GE foods have been linked to infertility, GI issues, organ damage, insulin and immune dysfunction and death. Thousands of sheep, buffalo and goats grazing on GE cotton in India have died. Seehttp://www.responsibletechnology.org/ for more details.

GMO labels can significantly end dangerous GMO growth

The US has a strong market economy that is very sensitive to consumer demand. If GMO labeling laws reduce demand for GMO labeled foods, the market will change to meet this demand. This can equate to less GMO foods and more safe GMO free foods for consumers.

Take action

Contact legislators and ask for their support for the New Federal Labeling Bill. See http://salsa3.salsalabs.com for more details. Join fellow citizens in the March against Monsanto on May 25th. Check http://occupy-monsanto.com/ for more information. There is an important momentum for GM labels and it is critical that citizen voices be heard.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org

http://salsa3.salsalabs.com
http://occupy-monsanto.com/

http://www.responsibletechnology.org/

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/040118_Monsanto_GMO_labeling_Federal_Bill.html#ixzz2RsB9UEOV

Studies prove that consumption of sugar and cancer are connected

Studies prove that consumption of sugar and cancer are connected

Sugar lurks in many places within our food system today. From certain breads and juices, to children’s cereal, it has been discretely introduced into the food supply on a catastrophic level. Over the years, much research has been conducted regarding the toxic effects of sugar, and the conclusions have all been quite troubling – cancer being a common trend within many of the studies.

The cancer problem is not slowing down

Over 1.5 million cancer cases are predicted to occur in the United States in 2013, and sadly, approximately half a million of these cases are expected to die. In 2008 alone, there were over 12 million cases of cancer worldwide, and this figure is expected to climb to over 20 million by the year 2030. If society can’t call this a worldwide epidemic, then what is?

With these types of statistics, it seems that the current approaches in place to prevent or even treat cancer, simply aren’t working. At this point, it’s probably safe to say that it’s going to take more than a “cancer walk” to stop this horrible trend once and for all. Interestingly enough, many researchers are now shifting their focus to understanding environmental influences (like eating behaviors) by means of putting a new light on the cancer problem.

Research shows that sugar is a perfect fuel for cancer cells

Studies have shown that cancer cells primarily run on glucose. With this being the case, it makes sense to regulate sugar intake in order to prevent cancerous cells from forming, or to stop them from spreading if a person has already been diagnosed.

Unfortunately, the Westernized approach to treating cancer doesn’t involve much credible dietary input or advice. Tactics employed nowadays, as far as treatment options go, seem to revolve more around chemotherapy and medications rather than which foods or substances to incorporate or avoid. Much of the research on sugar, in relation to this disease, has proven that cancer patients should certainly be watching how much of it they are consuming. In simpler terms, less sugar can undoubtedly equate to better controlling the invasive nature of cancer.

Sugar hides in many places

Sugar is literally everywhere, and it doesn’t seem as if too many people are concerned with how prevalent it is within the food system nowadays.

• Store-bought dressings
• Kid’s snacks
• Juices
• Soda
• Canned foods
• Enriched breads
• Processed meats
• Baked goods
• Sports drinks
• Nutrition bars
• Nutritional supplements

Society must remind itself that if leading a conventional lifestyle, it is going to be difficult to avoid these types of foods. If looking to improve your health, and avoid diseases like cancer, shifting to a more holistic (low sugar) lifestyle seems to be a great preventative measure to take. Consuming less sugar, eating more vegetables, drinking more filtered water, and eating cleaner foods are all appropriate strategies that have been scientifically proven to work as far as disease prevention goes.

The end message with sugar and cancer

There is now an obvious connection between diseases like cancer and the consumption of sugar. If looking to avoid cancer, or ultimately beat it if already diagnosed, watching your added sugar intake is a crucial method to employ. The scientific facts behind the claims are obviously real, so it’s time that more people look into assessing their diets if looking to avoid many of these fatal diseases. It’s not just cancer that society has to worry about these days either, as sugar consumption has also been linked to conditions like heart disease and diabetes as well.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.wcrf.org/cancer_statistics/world_cancer_statistics.php

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.3322/caac.21166/abstract

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/06/060630094933.htm

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/040112_sugar_consumption_cancer_prevention_cells.html#ixzz2Rs9EKY1D

Police stake out hydroponics shops, harass customers who grow their own food

Police stake out hydroponics shops, harass customers who grow their own food

Apparently Americans who employ hydroponics are the newest targets in an insane “drug war” that has gone from bad to ludicrous since it was first “declared” in the early 1980s.

Consider this case in point: A couple of years ago, narcotics officers knocked on the door at the home of a man who had just purchased a seed starter kit from a local gardening shop. The police officers were demanding to know just what it was he was planning to grow.

“Tomatoes,” he told them, and the officers finally left – but only after they were convinced he was not growing marijuana.

Since that day the gardener, who asked the Kansas City Star not to identify him over fears he would once again be hassled by police, began parking a block away from that same garden center, in order to avoid police stakeouts.

The harassment of hydroponic gardeners has only gotten worse since them.

In fact, owners of garden centers are increasingly complaining that police surveillance and stakeouts are hurting their businesses – sometimes even driving smaller garden centers out of business. Few people, it seems, are comfortable shopping under the watchful eyes of the Police State.

A number of customers, the paper said, have reported being followed home by police after making their purchases, regardless of what they were growing.

‘You don’t hear about when there is no case’

As is always the case, cops are defending this horrendous abuse of the public trust by saying, you know, such surveillance is necessary and prudent because it is keeping marijuana off the streets. To even believe such nonsense makes you wonder if the narcotics officers making that claim are smoking dope themselves.

Police say that local narcotics officers have been watching hydroponics shops – which sell equipment for growing produce indoors – for years. They write down license plate numbers of customers and then follow up with search warrants after first looking through their garbage for any evidence of drug use. They say all of this is justified because marijuana growers shop at hydroponic shops too – in addition to the vast majority of customers who grow flowers and crops inside their homes.

Sometimes such arrests become high-profile events. Many times, however, there are no cases to make.

“[What y]ou don’t hear about are the cases where there is no case,” attorney Cheryl Pilate told the Star. She added that she wonders how often innocent people are questioned by police just for shopping at a hydroponics gardening store.

She knows of what she speaks. She is currently representing a Leawood, Kan., family that was the target of an April 20, 2012 drug raid in which officers turned up no evidence – zero – of illegal substances. That family, Robert and Adlynn Harte, were raising tomatoes and other veggies that grow under lights.

They were never even told why they were targeted, so they have filed a suit against the Johnson County, Kan., Sheriff’s Department “to gain access to records that would reveal why they were initially under suspicion,” the Star reported.

The couple, and their attorney, believe that they were suspected of growing illicit drugs in part because they shopped at Green Circle Hydroponics, one of three local stores that specialize in indoor gardening supplies.

The Police State is bad for business

That explanation would not surprise Jeffrey Hawkins, owner of a similar gardening center called Hooked On Ponics. His place, too, is under constant police surveillance; he knows this because his customers have told him of being questioned after they have shopped there, including one woman who grows orchids.

“What they do is target all the grow shops,” Hawkins, who said he closed his original store in Liberty, Kan., after business dropped off due to police scrutiny, told the paper. He said he now operates on weekends at a northeast Kansas City flea market.

“It’s a serious problem,” he said. “They profile people.”

The surveillance and harassment of customers “is getting more serious,” said Sam Williams, the owner of Grow Your Own Hydroponics in Independence, Mo.

“It’s not right. They’re driving business away from me,” he said.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.naturalnews.com

http://www.kansascity.com

http://www.naturalnews.com/hydroponics.html

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/040121_hydroponics_police_state_surveillance.html#ixzz2Rs6OKCGR

Marijuana – A cure for cancer?

Marijuana – A cure for cancer?

If you’re over 21, marijuana is legal to smoke and have in possession (under 1 ounce) here in the state of Washington. Many users do so for the effects the THC found in marijuana has on the body. THC is the substance in marijuana that gets you “felling high”. But recently, through some breakthrough research, studies have shown that the substance Cannabidiol (CBD), also found in marijuana, has the potential to be a game changer in the fight against cancer.

Here in Seattle, medical marijuana is primarily prescribed to help terminally ill patients and those receiving painful medical treatments to help deal with the pain. It is also prescribed for people with high levels of anxiety or severe depression. But, new research being done has shown more than just pain relieving or mood enhancing effects; it could help to treat and – even better – reverse cancer.

The evidence

Studies were recently completed by the California Pacific Medical Center in the San Francisco Bay area. The compound CBD was tested on animals with cancer as an alternative treatment. They found there was a disruption in the growth of tumors cells. CBD is a natural defense mechanism in the cannabis plant. In fact, CBD makes up about 40 percent of the cannabis plant matter. CBD is considered non-psychoactive, whereas THC is psychoactive. Basically, CBD doesn’t give you the “high feelings” associated with THC, but it is showing promise in stopping or even reversing the effects of cancer on the body.

By manipulating the breeding of the plants to achieve high contents of CBD and low content of THC, this could give a very low psychoactive response yet provide all the cancer fighting benefits of the CBD.

This breakthrough discovery is on the verge of being tested on humans with both brain cancer and breast cancer. If this works, marijuana could be the single biggest breakthrough treatment we’ve seen for cancer; perhaps ever!

Sources for this article include:

www.cancer.gov

http://www.huffingtonpost.com

http://www.kionrightnow.com

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/040046_medical_marijuana_cancer_treatment.html#ixzz2ROLogMhB

Massive, uncontained leak at Fukushima is pouring over 710 billion becquerels of radioactive materials into atmosphere

Massive, uncontained leak at Fukushima is pouring over 710 billion becquerels of radioactive materials into atmosphere

The tsunami-caused nuclear accident at the Fukushima power station in Japan is the disaster that never ends, as new reports indicate that a wealth of new radioactive materials have been spewed into the atmosphere.

According to Singapore-based news outlet AsiaOne, the Tokyo Electric Power Co., which owns the multi-nuclear reactor power station at Fukushima, announced April 6 that some 120 tons of water that had been contaminated with radioactive substances had leaked from an underground storage facility at the No. 1 atomic power plant site.

Running out of storage room?

TEPCO officials announced the leak late in the day April 5, a Friday, “but said measures to address the problem had not been taken for two days because the cause had not been identified,” AsiaOne reported. The company “assumed the water was still leaking.”

According to company officials TEPCO estimates that the leaked water contains about 710 billion becquerels of radioactive substances, making it the largest leak of radioactive materials ever at the plant. Discovery of the leak led the company to transfer about 13,000 tons of polluted, radioactive water in the questionable storage area to a neighboring underground storage unit.

That storage unit, TEPCO said, is 60 meters long, 53 meters wide and six meters deep. It is pool-like in structure and has a three-layer waterproof sheet with a concrete cover.

According to the company, water that has leaked from damaged nuclear reactors is run through filters and additional devices in order to remove radioactive elements. The water is then stored in facilities for low-level contaminated water.

TEPCO began using the storage facility Feb. 1. As of April 5, 13,000 tons of radioactive water was being stored there – very close to the 14,000-ton limit.

More leaking contamination

AsiaOne reported that water samples taken by TEPCO from soil surrounding the damaged facility a few days later showed 35 becquerels per cubic centimeter of radioactive substances, which is abnormal. “Safe” levels of becquerels is 300 per kilogram of water, according to New Scientist.

However, TEPCO officials did not publicly announce their findings right away after not finding any other unusual changes in water quality data, such as chloride concentration.

On April 5, the report said, two days after the problem was first noticed, water with 6,000 becquerels per cubic centimeter of radioactive substances was located between the first and second layers of the waterproof sheet, which alerted TEPCO engineers and plant officials that a leak had occurred.

Per AsiaOne:

As the sheet’s layers were joined when the facility was constructed, TEPCO assumed that the sheet may have been damaged, or that a mistake had been made during construction. An average of about 400 tons a day of groundwater seeped into buildings housing nuclear reactors and turbines, increasing the quantity of polluted water.

The latest problem will create a storage shortage; TEPCO officials said storage of polluted water at the facility will be reduced from 53,000 tons to 40,000 – a significant reduction. That will make it necessary for the power company to go over procedures for handling polluted water, which will include increasing the number of storage units.

The disaster that keeps on giving

TEPCO said earlier this month it expected the water transfer would take about five days to complete.

“As the height of the water storage facility is relatively low, we think it’s unlikely that the polluted water mixed into underground water and reached the sea 800 meters away,” said Masayuki Ono, the acting chief of TEPCO’s nuclear facilities department, at a press conference April 6.

The plant was damaged by a huge earthquake-caused tsunami March 11, 2011. At the time of the incident, three of the plant’s atomic reactors were shut down: No. 4 had been de-fueled and Nos. 5 and 6 were in cold shut-down for maintenance.

The remaining three automatically shut down at the time of the accident and emergency generators came on to keep coolant systems operating.

Sources for this article include:

http://news.asiaone.com

http://www.newscientist.com

http://www.naturalnews.com/Fukushima.html

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/040058_Fukushima_radioactive_nuclear_leak.html#ixzz2ROLXEstj